Tuesday, 1 December 2009

(Some) Books of the Year (2002 mostly, it seems)

And so we come to the end of 2009, and also to the end of the decade we (rightly) hesitated to call the noughties.

I wasn't really prepared for the end-of-the-decade thing this time, as the last one was also the end of a century and of the millenium and so was heralded with nostalgia, smugness and predictions of technological meltdown and apocalyptic doom.

I do not have my ear to the ground or my finger on the pulse or my anything else on the whatever of the zeitgeist, so cannot give a definitive top [insert number, preferably multiple of 5 or 10] [insert cultural experience of choice] of 2009.

I can, however, exclusively reveal the list you have all been waiting for (subconsciously, probably, but waiting nonetheless):

5 Good Books I Have Read This Year.

Exciting stuff.

In no particular order then:

1. The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future by Jenny Uglow.
This is really, really good, and there is plenty (500+) pages of it (and with pictures). A group biography of members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, which includes Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles, polymath), Josiah Wedgewood, Joseph Priestly and James Watt.

2. Samuel Pepys, the Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
This was Whitbread Book of the Year 2002 (see?) and is marvellous.

3. Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
Neurological case studies of music and the mind. Very interesting indeed.

4. The Golden Age of Couture, Paris and London 1949-57 ed Claire Wilcox
Absolutely gorgeous big dresses. Beautifully cut tweed suits. Yum.

5. The Gum Thief by Douglas Coupland
All of Douglas Coupland's books are good, but some are too sad for me to read. This one is quite sad, and is also very funny.

These are not all the books I have read. They may not be the top 5 - I'm not sure. I also read Sputnik Sweetheart and After Dark by Haruki Murakami as well as Norwegian Wood, and I read (sections of) lots of Political Philosophy books for work. I note that mostly I have been reading non-fiction and this is interesting. I shall go on as I started, as I have just launched into Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy.

So there you are. Furnish your Christmas list with listingslightly. Coming up, some music released sometime which I have listened to somewhere at some point, collated for your enjoyment.

1 comment:

Jimbo said...

Nice list of books - I will definitely try to read the Oliver Sachs one. You've probably read one or two others since you posted this... I've read one book in the last 2 years. (I'm a slow reader), but it's very good - you can just dip in...it's called Elephants on Acid - all about weird experiments. Check it out if you get a chance.